November 19, 2019


Emily Pottiger



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Sample Timeline For the Wedding Day – NO First Look

Planning your wedding can be hella hard & hella confusing. There are so many resources out there and where do you even begin? Half of the time the day looks nothing like yours & you’re left even more confused than before. One of the top questions I get from brides is, “is this normal?” Well 1st, it doesn’t matter if it’s normal or not, it’s your day. But just for some peace of mind, I’ve decided to share what I believe is the standard, nay ideal, wedding day of timeline.

This timeline specifically will be made for couples not doing a first look. The best way to use this is to start with your ceremony time and work your way up from there. If your ceremony starts at 4pm instead of 3pm then you can shift the timing for everything else accordingly.

Want to know more about why I encourage everyone to do a first look? Read on here: A whole blog post on first looks.

12:30 – 1:30


Every detail you so carefully planned out I will capture. I know you poured your very heart into this day & these details will not be overlooked. I’ll shoot your dress, shoes, rings, flowers, anything sentimental or special during this time. Believe it or not, all of these pieces tell the story of your day and are important for me to capture and for you to remember.

1:00 – 1:30

Groom & Groomsmen Get Dressed

If everything is taking place at one location, we’ll use this time to do some bridal party groups and individual photos.

1:45 – 2:15

Bridal Prep

After the details are done, it’s time to get ready. By this time I’ll ask the bridal party and mother of the bride to be dressed. This way everyone will look nice in these images. The last thing we want is someone’s hair half done. After the bride is in her gown she will put on her shoes, earrings, veil etc. and be ready for some extra bridal portraits.

Groom & Groomsmen Photos

While the Bride is still inside getting her dress on, the groom and groomsmen will go outside and do their group and individual shots together. By the time they are finished, it will be the bride and bridesmaids’ turn.

2:15 – 2:30

Bride & Bridesmaids Photos

If everything is taking place at one location, we’ll use this time to do some bridal party groups and individual photos.

Bridal Party in Hiding

2:30 – 3:00

It’s almost ceremony time! We reserve this time as a buffer for you to hide, but also to detail shots of your ceremony spaces.

3:00 – 3:30


It’s officially time to get married! Congratulations. Soak it all in – this is going to go by SO fast. Most ceremonies are usually around 30 minutes. If your ceremony extends 30 minutes let us know and we’ll adjust your timeline. Also please specify in your questionnaire any special elements to your ceremony we should know about. (unity etc.)

3:35 – 4:00


We will send you a wedding day worksheet for you to fill out with your family’s information and photo groupings. Try to keep the combinations to immediate family ONLY. Any other family can be photographed during cocktail hour or reception.

4:05 – 4:10


Since we already did the small groups earlier in the day, we’ll use this time to get a large group shot of everyone and any photos that we may have missed. If you run behind earlier in the morning, this is a great opportunity to make up for lost time.

4:10 – 4:30


This is the time for your portraits! Right after the bridal party, we’ll pull you both to a few portraits. Depending on time we’ll move around to different locations at the venue. We like to move around and get a lot of variety of you during this time.



The reception portion of your day is best to figure out with your venue, caterer, and DJ. We are more go with the flow during this portion of the day so use this section as inspiration!

It’s party time! Many couples line up and start with introductions & first dance. At this point of the day, my natural light fades out and I set up my flashes and light up the dance floor! My timeline relaxes at this point as I follow along your reception events. The reception is when time really flies by, don’t forget to have the time of your life and oh… eat dinner! But seriously…



Typically, the evening starts with the first dance, but can go in any order you’d like.

  • The first dance
  • Father-daughter dance
  • Mother son dance



Welcome toasts & salads followed by speeches and entrees.

5:30 – 6:30


Now is time to eat. We suggest that you eat first and tell your coordinator that you’d like to eat in peace. We always see our couples being bombarded by guests during this time and they don’t get a chance to eat in peace! Eat yo food!



If time allows, we’d love to take you outside to get either some sunset portraits or some night time portraits (depending on the time of year). Don’t worry – the party won’t stop without you!



It’s time to party. Get dancing and enjoy yourself! Be sure to meet with your DJ before booking. I’ve seen too many weddings go south at dancing time because the DJ didn’t know how to get people on the dance floor! If you’re looking for someone who can bring the party – let us know and we can certainly direct you towards our go-to pros!



Why does this happen towards the end of the night? Many people stay for cake… if you start dancing before you serve the cake, you’re more likely to get your older guests on the dance floor! Once you serve the cake, it’s an indicator that the event is coming to an end (again, more traditionally for our older guests).



Our 8 hours is over and it’s time to head out – if your reception isn’t over until later don’t freak out. Usually the people who are going to dance are the ones on the dance floor from the beginning to the end. If you’re interested in having your exit photographed – there are many options with this! You can either add additional coverage or plan a faux exit with just your bridal party. We’ve done this ourselves and it worked perfectly. Email me if you’re interested in more information.

Have more questions? Want to chat? Email me!




A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it's easy to feel like a hot mess! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

the wedding day Timeline guide


A lot of moving pieces go into planning a wedding day timeline and we know it can be overwhelming! Grab our free guide to plan the perfect timeline for your day. 

Grab Your Guide